A proposal sponsored by George Runner to protect California’s disabled veterans cleared the Assembly this week with unanimous, bipartisan support, and now awaits action by Governor Jerry Brown.
“I applaud the Legislature for passing this legislation to help the men and women who have bravely served our country,” said Runner. “Bureaucratic delays should never rob veterans of the tax benefits that are rightfully theirs.”
In a letter urging Governor Brown’s signature, Runner writes that Senate Bill 1113, authored by Senator Steve Knight (R-Antelope Valley), will ensure “that disabled veterans who encounter bureaucratic delays are able to claim a property tax exemption to which they are entitled.”
Under California law, veterans who receive a 100 percent disability rating from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be eligible for a property tax exemption on the value of their home up to $124,932 or $187,399 in 2014 and equivalent amounts adjusted for inflation in future years. The exemption starts on the date of disability and disabled veterans may claim a refund for up to four years of back taxes paid.
Unfortunately, due to VA backlogs, some veterans have had to wait more than four years to receive their disability rating certifications. As a result, they’ve missed out on thousands of dollars in property tax refunds to which they were entitled and anticipated receiving.
SB 1113 would increase the availability of refunds on taxes previously paid from four years to eight years, allowing veterans to receive the full benefit of their exemption, even if the rating process takes more than four years to complete.
“Veterans who are disabled as a direct result of serving our country shouldn’t be penalized for delays over which they have no control,” said Knight. “I commend my colleagues for backing SB 1113 to ensure disabled veterans have access to the tax benefits they deserve.”
The full Board of Equalization voted to support SB 1113 at an earlier meeting, and the measure has also received support from the California Assessors’ Association, California Taxpayers Association, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and a broad coalition of veterans’ organizations.
Elected in November 2010, George Runner represents more than nine million Californians as a member of the State Board of Equalization.